UK Free Spaces Feature Archive
Update Fri 5th March: A new Social Centre has been squatted in 156 Fortess Rd in Kentish Town! Read report and list of events.
Update Thurs 26: People in and around the building are still determined to resist the eviction. [Report | Short video of picket]. Meanwhile, events at the Occupied Social Centre will continue as normal in resistance to the threat of eviction.
Update Wed 25th: The Occupied Social Centre still needs people urgently, as it is thought the police will be round sometime between now and the weekend. Supporters of the Centre state: "we intend to continue our resistance to the eviction".
On the 6th of January this year, after 6 months of neglect, 93 Fortess Road was occupied. The aim of the people involved was to set up a social centre, a free space for people in the local community to use as a resource and to create a place where people can come together and get creative. A place which is free, fun and accessible to everyone.
On Wednesday January 21st, the Social Centre was taken to court by the building’s owners - Mark Oliver Homes - property developers, who plan to demolish the building and turn it into commercial space and luxury flats. Following the court hearing, an eviction date was set for Tuesday 24th February. Early in the morning police and bailiffs arrived to Fortess Rd, but around 70 supporters of the Social Centre gathered o defend the space. With people occupying the rooftop, new defences having been constructed overnight (both inside and outside), supporters out on the streets and people inside ready to lock-on, it seems the eviction has been stalled, at least temporarily. It is not certain what will happen in the next few days, but what it seems clear now is that any eviction would require specialist bailiffs to remove people from the roof, cut others out of lock-ons and deal with the extensive barricade defences inside.
[Photos 24/02 | Fortess Rd Background | UK Social Centres | WOMBLES]
Bellway Homes are attempting to destroy a group of ancient trees and a natural meadowland to build what campaigners say is an unnecessary road junction. The area is supposedly guarded by a Tree Protection Order as it possesses a 300 year old beech tree, yet the council are refusing to take any action against the developers.
Local campaigners and residents at Mansfield Woodhouse's tree houses' and tunnels were visited by the Sherriff on Tuesday 10th February and informed that an eviction of the protest camp would be taking place imminently.
Welsh Bailiffs came on site with a warrant conducting a health and safety review of the site. They said they would be returning imminently with a professional tunnel team and climbers.
Campaigners hope they can delay the destruction long enough for action to be taken in the courts. On Saturday the small numbers present were boosted by a call for support which mobilised enough people to foil what they say was an illegal eviction attempt (report). The campaigers say they desparately need more people in site to help build defences, and to stay over night so numbers are at a maximum when the bailiffs move in. It seems likely it will happen very soon.
Five acres of ancient semi-natural woodland are about to be trashed by Caerphilly council in South Wales to make way for a 2 mile long bypass which will provide a new access road to industrial developments at Blackwood in Gwent. A decade-long protest came to a head recently when Caerphilly County Borough Council signed a contract with Sirhowy Enterprise Way to begin work on a £54m bypass despite receiving some 4500 written objections from locals. Compulsory Purchase Orders to acquire the land have now been served and the contractors Costain & Tarmac have begun felling.
On January 29th 100 tress were chopped down but the work was halted by two lone protestors locking on to the bulldozers. A base camp has now been set up amongst the trees, with about 15 people and Section 6 squatting notices in place. More help on site is urgently needed.
REPORTS : 1 (+pics + update) |2 |3 |4 |5 |6 | MAP| FILM (4mb) |
RoadAlert | St Davids Wood Campaign website (old) | UK Protest Camps (Schnews)|
For UPDATES see
People from Leeds ARC, the city's new direct action group, have been finding out the low down on big changes to the well loved Kirkgate Market. Last Saturday and Monday, people gave out leaflets, talked to stall holders and got hundreds of people to sign letters of protest to the council about the planned changes which add up to a 'yuppification' of the market.
“I don’t know what I’ll do if the market closes or the shops get more expensive. I rely on it for cheap food, clothes and household goods. It’s just another example of the poorer people being pushed out of the city centre, isn’t it.”
Aspire is rolling ...at Stagmills House, Skinner Lane (off North Street,near Leeds College of Building).... check the website for details of daily events
This Saturday afternoon several people have put together a timetable of talks, discussion and action-planning:
- 3 pm Talk on asylum seekers, destitution and campaigning/solidarity Speaker from Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network (LASSN).
- 4 pm Talk & discussion introducing Leeds ARC (Action for Radical Change), a new group starting in Leeds. Discussion on:
-big job losses in Leeds, destitution
-the G8 in the UK in 2005 – and the new network Dissent!
- 5 pm Resistance against the introduction of genetically modified GM crops. What's the latest situation and how to get involved.
- 6 pm Report-backs from 2nd European Social Forum in Paris + discussion about Local Social Forums and ESF in London 2004.
- 7.30 pm Book reading and talk by Rob Newman.
Vegan café open in the evening
DJs, music late into the night
A-spire has launched! It is at the Stagmills House, @Skinner Lane (just next to Leeds College of Building). Here's the map, click on it for a bigger version:
A-spire, Leeds' very own squatted social centre will take place on December 5-14 (starting this Friday, that means!)
Events will include:
* vegan banquet * justice for the salonika 7 benefit nite * queer events * cafe * techno * space invaders * monster massive ceilidh * political discussions * incitement 2...films * drama workshops * open mic * health workshops * subvertising * Leeds IMC screenings and workshops * punk * politics of food * healing ...and a lot more!
...why not put up your own event?
Check out the a-spire website for location: it will be there (and Leeds indymedia too!) from 1pm on Friday the 5th of December.
Also check out this week's events at the kickstart cafe in Manchester: they are to be chucked out next week...
On Oct 30/31st, residents at St.Agnes were on alert, building baricades and erecting a scaffolding tower. Police was seen several times during these days, but the bailiffs didn't turn up - St. Agnes Place is still going!
A caravan of artists, media activists, scientists and technicians from all over the world is presently gathering in Andalucia in the South of Spain. The Euro-African project will cross the Straits of Gibraltar in December, and move south along the west-coast of Africa [map], reclaiming the Straits as a bridge, not a boundary. The Caravan describes itself as "a sound system, a circus, a mobile cinema and a stage for theatre and performance". It is constantly open for everyone who wants to participate.
news about the tour | german version
We are expecting eviction this winter/autumn!
The Sardar Sarovar Dam on the lower Narmada River is just one of 30 projected large dams of India`s Narmada mega-dam project, an area prone to earthquakes. In May 2003, three Indian federal states had given clearance to increase the height of the dam to 100 meters, which caused the submergence of several villages and devastation of standing crops, after monsoon rains started at the end of July. The clearance was given inspite of a legally binding Supreme Court Order and the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal Award, which had stipulated the previous resettlement of all project-affected persons. But at least 13 500 families suffering from the present monsoon floods are still waiting to be resettled. So far they haven’t been granted any compensation for the destruction of their property. The inhabitants of Chimalkhedi village in Maharashtra resisted Police Forces, who attacked and forcefully evicted them, arresting 74 plus 40 temporarily. 20 houses of this hamlet were also demolished.
More information under
A report from the UK's biggest direct action gathering.
This years EF summer gathering took place over 5 days from 13th August on an idyllic nature reserve near Ripon in North Yorkshire. These gatherings have been taking place annually now for almost a decade and continue attract around 4 - 500 people each year. There is no hype, no big name speakers to tell you how it is, and no mass marketing campaign advertising the event in cities all over the UK: all very different from say, the SWP's annual 'Marxism' event in London.
Quote: "Our calculations show that the Fibre Optic Cables running from the City of London to the Docklands, along the A13, can channel the psychic currents we generate in our psychogeographical activities with enough precision to shut down the arms fair on September 11th 2003."
The terrain was public land donated in the 50s by federal government to corporations to "create jobs". It has been an unused land for four years and Volkswagen workers are on strike caused by job cuts in the factory.
Meanwhile up to 7000 persons - including about 2000 children, were in the camp.
Negotiations with the city council and the company's representation have failed, a court decided the eviction. Yet the workers want to show resistance.
Here is a translation of a personal report posted on Imc Brasil about the eviction of the camp.
The Noborder Camps have reached Germany. From 31st of July till 10th of august, the city of Cologne was "Out of Controll."
Many of the camps successfull activities to highlight institutional racism, worldwide and local oppression and opposing organised neonazis would have gone unnoticed, but the police repression on Saturday caused an international outcry and drew attention to the camp [pics 1,2,pics on IMC Istanbul,feature on Global IMC, feature on Italy IMC,IMC Poland, IMC Sweden,IMC Athens,IMC Paris,IMC Lille,collection of videoclips, see also Statewatch Report].
A Forum with discussions and workshops was accompanying the noborder camp. [invitation,program]
The next noborder actions are announced for Sept.11-14th when anti-rascist activists will be gathering in Nuremberg and Fürth.
For more information about the police repression and the activities at and of the camp, please read the entire feature.
01-08-2003 10:09Last Friday Night Merseyside police raided the Caribean Centre, on Upper parliment street
The Gathering provides a much-needed space for all those involved in direct action in Britain, Europe and the rest of the world - and for all those who want to be involved in direct action - to meet and talk about what’s been going on and what we’re going to do next.
Ten years on from the first EF! Gathering, some are questioning the usefulness of the Earth First! network which is seen by some as a social club and as not expressing many peoples politics. Many people are saying change is needed.
In response to recent years' events, the content, workshops and discussions of this year's Gathering have been organised so that everything is up for discussion.
For constant updates on venue, events, directions and appeals, see the Summer Gathering website